Tom Cochrane cancels sold-out Prince Albert show due to CUPE 882 strike

Tom Cochrane has cancelled his stop in Prince Albert as part of The Duo Songs and Stories Tour. -- Tom Cochrane/Facebook

The sold-out Tom Cochrane show scheduled to take place at the EA Rawlinson Centre this week has been cancelled due to the CUPE 882 strike.

“The Rawlinson Centre here in Prince Albert was ready to host the show, but the decision of the artist given the ongoing strike was to cancel. Of course, we respect that decision, but it is deeply disappointing,” said the city’s Director of Corporate Services Kiley Bear.

In a statement posted on social media, Cochrane said his team is working on finding another date.

“We have continuously worked with the folks at the EA Rawlinson theatre, hoping for a resolution, but currently find ourselves at an impasse,” reads the statement.

“Being union members, we cannot in good faith cross the picket line to the venue.”

CUPE 882 also represents employees at City Hall, the Alfred Jenkins Field House, Frank Dunn Pool, Art Hauser Centre and the Arts Centre. The union has been on strike since Sept. 11.

According to a news release, the city and the union set a tentative bargaining date for Tuesday following discussions with a provincial conciliator last week. The city agreed to meet on that date, but the union said they wouldn’t be “available or prepared” until the end of the month.

“That was unfortunate. You know, we got the impression that there was some urgency and some willingness and interest to settle this soon so that employees were back to work before Christmas – that did not transpire,” said Bear.

She added that tickets for Tom Cochrane will be refunded in the coming days. The show was set to take place on Friday as part of The Duo Songs and Stories Tour.

This is not the first act that has chosen to cancel or postpone because of the strike. Other performers, including the Bear Grease theatre company and comedy duo Middle Raged, have opted not to cross the picket line.

At the beginning of November, the acapella group Countermeasure performed at the Union Centre instead.

Bear said the Rawlinson Centre has lots of capacity to re-book shows in the new year.

Meanwhile, the union representing the city’s outside workers has voted in favour of joining CUPE 882 on the picket line – however, it’s not in a legal strike position yet.

Bear said the city and CUPE 160 must first determine which services will be deemed essential under the Employment Act. 

“We can come to a mutual agreement amongst ourselves, and if we can’t agree, we have to take it to the labour board for a determination on our behalf,” she said.

Bear said, so far, those discussions have not occurred.

CUPE 160 represents employees at the water treatment plant, waste water treatment plant, sanitation department, parks and recreation, roadways, rink operation staff, janitors in city facilities, fleet mechanics, airport maintenance workers and cemetery staff.